Money Matters

Can’t meditate? Try these science-backed relaxation alternatives 🎨

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Money. Career. Balance.

Can

t meditate? Try coloring (or these other relaxation methods)

That’s why, when I’m in need of a breather, you won’t find me trying to wrangle my wandering mind into a meditative state—I’ll be doodling around an inspirational phrase in my book of quotes or cutting up magazines for a winter fashion collage. So if you’re anything like me and meditation is not your speed, don’t feel too bad. Knitting, writing, even a brisk walk around the block are all

This week, my office is in a crafting frenzy. Reporters, designers and editors alike are taking ribbon, markers and glitter to gift bags and ornaments, all to make this holiday season just a little bit brighter for the children who will be spending it in a local hospital. We do it for the kids, but putting crayon to paper is good for our health, too. In fact, coloring has mental health benefits similar to that of meditation, targeting the amygdala (a.k.a. the emotional center of your brain) to reduce anxiety and stress while stimulating creativity and logic through the cerebral cortex.That’s why, when I’m in need of a breather, you won’t find me trying to wrangle my wandering mind into a meditative state—I’ll be doodling around an inspirational phrase in my book of quotes or cutting up magazines for a winter fashion collage. So if you’re anything like me and meditation is not your speed, don’t feel too bad. Knitting, writing, even a brisk walk around the block are all scientifically-proven techniques for relaxing your mind.

TAKE CHARGE

Tackle money, career and balance with these tips today.

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To freelance, to startup or to climb the corporate ladder? 
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Answer these questions to find out what path is right for you.

We all experience stress, but too much can damage your health.

Counteract the negative effects with this science-backed technique

WHAT’S FRESH

Navigating the holiday season when you’re un- or underemployed

Amplify your canned answer. Sure, start with the plight of being a recent grad with student loans and little experience in a competitive job market. Then, share something great you’ve been working on, like training for a 10K, starting a side hustle or volunteering at a pet shelter. 

Pivot productively. Change the topic, but not by asking for your aunt’s chili recipe—make this a networking opportunity. Ask how she landed her position, and share what you’re interested in doing and for what company, inviting her to interject with connections she may have.

Nothing says holiday cheer like every aunt, uncle and cousin asking, “How’s the job search going?” Being un- or underemployed is a struggle in and of itself—even more so when you’re surrounded by people eager to talk about it. Here are some tips for handling the frustrating questioning.Sure, start with the plight of being a recent grad with student loans and little experience in a competitive job market. Then, share something great you’ve been working on, like training for a 10K, starting a side hustle or volunteering at a pet shelter.Change the topic, but not by asking for your aunt’s chili recipe—make this a networking opportunity. Ask how she landed her position, and share what you’re interested in doing and for what company, inviting her to interject with connections she may have.

Three ways to start overcoming your financial baggage today

Get familiar with it. Determine what’s bogging you down and decide if it’s worthy of attention. You’re not helpless to bad habits.

Personalize a plan. Overwhelmed by all the financial resources? One size does not fit all. Your situation is unique, so research what kind of budget and accounts best suit you.

Reset. Challenge yourself to break bad habits little by little. Maybe you need to set aside $3 a day for savings or impose a spending freeze—no $5 lattes until Sunday, then treat yo’self. Conquering the temptation gradually will build up your ability to resist your old ways.

Coming to terms with your financial struggles is seriously hard, but it’s worth the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re not burying your head in the sand each month. Here’s how to work through your financial baggage , no matter your salary.Determine what’s bogging you down and decide if it’s worthy of attention. You’re not helpless to bad habits.Overwhelmed by all the financial resources? One size does not fit all. Your situation is unique, so research what kind of budget and accounts best suit you.Challenge yourself to break bad habits little by little. Maybe you need to set aside $3 a day for savings or impose a spending freeze—no $5 lattes until Sunday, then treat yo’self. Conquering the temptation gradually will build up your ability to resist your old ways.

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ONE CHART ANSWER

Is earning an MBA worth your while? There’s no easy answer. Five years post-grad, the Wharton School’s class of 2012 alumni are seeing an average $97,100 salary gain. But take that with a grain of salt: B-school borrowers hold a median $75,000 in debt. Scout your job prospects, consider earning potential and follow these steps to assess how you’ll convert an advanced degree into your next career achievement.

Ever wonder what happens if you default on a loan? If your boss can make you go to the holiday party? How to plan a trip abroad? Send your money, career and balance questions to askbankable@forbes.com . We

ll publish articles to answer as many as we can. And don

t worry: We won

t print your name. But details could reveal you, so be thoughtful.

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